Deb has published a blog about our experiences on P&O’s Adonia on a short break to France and Spain. I have also put my thoughts together about the cruise, and although our views are really very similar, there will be a few differences.
Sit back and enjoy my memories of Adonia to France and Spain.
Our overnight stay in Southampton was really rather pleasant. The hotel room (Holiday Inn) gave us a lovely view of the port area where P&O’s cruise ship Adonia would be waiting for us in the morning.
After settling in, and having a shower, we set off for the city to get some food. We looked at the new shopping complex in West Quay that has a wide variety of fast food outlets, and it was tempting, but our well tried and tested routine convinced us to carry on to Bella Pasta where we have eaten for several years on our pre-cruise evenings.
…sadly it proved to be a bad decision.
We were greeted and seated by a polite and cheerful waiter, and chose a starter of garlic bread with pizza to follow – so far so good. Then we sat and waited while watching the place fill up with happy customers, who were enjoying the atmosphere, and food.
The garlic bread arrived and it was an unusual variant on this familiar taster, but perfectly enjoyable. Then we sat back and sipped our soft drinks awaiting the pizzas. Soon I was looking at my watch as they were taking a long time to arrive, and the doors of the theatre opened at 7:00. Eventually just ten minutes before the theatre beckoned, we asked what was happening, and were told that the food would be with us in a few more minutes. This was not good enough, and we said we had to go. We asked for the bill to cover the starter and drinks, but to ease our annoyance slightly, they said there was no charge. We thanked them and scampered off towards the Mayflower Theatre.
We had 15 minutes to wait once seated before the lights went down, and the show began.
It was a new show called “The Addams Family” with Samantha Womak and Les Dennis as the better known actors. We had no idea what to expect, but within 10 minutes we were giggling along with the musical fun.
It was a delightful evening. It was a simple plot but the cast worked hard, and the audience was enjoying the humour and singing.
I will say no more to spoil anyone else’s enjoyment of the show, but we came out some three hours later happy, and the lack of food forgotten.
After a quiet stroll back to the hotel we had a (very expensive) nightcap glass of red wine while we chatted about the show, and of course, the week to come on Adonia.
Friday 28th July
We both slept better than expected but were up early to have breakfast. With food finally filling the void in our stomachs, we turned to the suitcases. They were repacked, and zipped up, except for one which we kept open for any final bits that we might get this morning.
Then it was off for a walk around the shops.
Although not as easy as we expected, we did find the things on our shopping list and decided it was time for coffee. When I looked at my watch, we realised it was later than we thought so returned to the hotel. The final bits were packed away and we transferred ourselves, and the luggage, to the foyer to await our taxi.
As we sat with a coffee, we spotted Les Dennis being hassled by hotel guests for a photograph. As he walked by (for his breakfast) we thanked him for a wonderful show. He was friendly, and delayed his food for further couple of minutes to chat. They are taking the show around the country and hope it eventually gets a run in the West End…but acting is a fickle game, and although we enjoyed the evening, there is no way of telling how reviews will go around the rest of the country.
Bang on 11:30 our taxi arrived, and whisked us off to the Mayflower Cruise Terminal. We were some of the first and were quickly processed through check-in and soon sitting in the VIP lounge area with a cup of coffee and cake.
At 12:15 we were roused from our relaxation and escorted out of the departure lounge and onto Adonia. Deb and I passed through the security checks without any delays, and were the first to walk along the air bridge and into the ship.
Our latest maritime adventure was about to begin, and within five minutes of being on the ship, we were smiling as we sat with our first glass of fizz anticipating what the week would bring.
My Impressions of Adonia
It is small.
But this is not a bad thing….just different.
You can walk the length of the public area in less than five minutes, and have time to glance at the shop windows on the way. With only 600 to 700 passengers it has more than enough places to sit and read, or have a drink and a friendly chat. Meeting new people seems easier with a small number of passengers, and you will soon be chatting to new people, unless you really want to isolate yourselves.
On deck five (the main public deck) the show lounge (Curzons) is at the front. It was never full, and has a range of seating with good views of the stage area. There is also a small floor which is used for dancing before the shows begin, and later in the evenings. Just back from here is another large lounge (Andersons) which was often busy in the evening and especially during the Syndicate Quiz when all the available seats were usually taken. To one side of Anderson’s is the Photography shop with its display boards. It was not very busy on this cruise, and at £10 for the ‘welcome on board’ photo, I can understand why.
Moving back again to the centre of the ship, there is an atrium area with shops, Future Cruises and Loyalty desks. A staircase here leads down to deck four for the Reception area. Walking through this area you come to the final public area of this deck with Raffles for those coffee and cake moments, and then the Pacific Dining Room at the stern of the ship. This restaurant serves all the passengers in two sittings for dinner, as well as casual servings of breakfast and lunch.
Above this public deck there are the three main passenger accommodation decks. The cabins are virtually all with balconies, except a handful of basic inside and outside ones. The balcony cabins are quite a good size, but many people were disappointed with the small en-suite with a tiny shower, sink and toilet. We never had a chance to see these cabins as the special offer we took advantage of gave us the chance to splash out on a suite for the first time.
Our suite was at the stern of C Deck (level 6) on the starboard side, and it was enormous. It took up over a third of the width of the ship, meaning it was over twice the width of the two standard cabins that were between us and the other suite on the port side corner.
Our temporary home had a sitting area that was as big as many modern day family lounges. For those relaxing moment there is a settee, two arm chairs, and coffee table. Then there was a circular dining table with four chairs. Along one wall there is a large unit with wide screen TV, stereo and DVD as well as the fridge and a cupboard of glasses.
The bedroom was similarly generous, including a large dressing area. It has masses of storage…three large wardrobes, a dressing table and various cupboards and drawer space.
The giant bathroom included a Jacuzzi bath plus a large sink with load of space for washing bits and pieces. Oh, and there was a second separate toilet for guests, or those urgent moments when two are needed.
Outside we had a balcony that wrapped around the corner with doors from both the lounge and bedroom areas. It gave us superb views as well as room for two loungers (in comfort) plus another dining table and chairs, and a further two chairs to suit our desires. We could have had a party out there for a good size number of friends without feeling crowded.
This cabin was sensational, but to be honest this was just a treat to try out the experience, and I doubt we will ever have a suite again. Personally we found it difficult to justify the space, but it was superb, and the balcony was amazing…
…and we never really found enough for the butler to do.
Let’s go back to the rest of Adonia.
Up on deck 10 at the front is the Crow’s Nest. Once again there is plenty of space to be sociable, or to keep to yourselves. The room is well used for various activities during the day with the passenger choir, quizzes and Battle of the Sexes challenge. We even spent an enjoyable hour there taking part in a drama class reading from a script. In the evening the grand piano is used by the various singers, or the bands provide music to relax to.
Above this lounge is the open air Observation area for the dedicated sun lovers. We never explored up there as the wind would not have made it very comfortable.
Going out of the door of the Crow’s Nest there is the open deck that equates to the promenade area with a small rectangular walkway in the fresh air. Apparently, going around the deck for 14 and a bit laps equates to a mile. I think I might get dizzy if I tried that. The deck 10 level overlooks the sheltered Lido pool and sun worship area, but if you go to the stern end there are doors into a pair of select dining rooms – The Ocean Grill and The Glass House. We ate in both and the food and service was exceptional.
Down to Deck 9 and the Lido was well used in what good weather we had, although I don’t remember seeing anyone in the swimming pool. Even with the wind that we suffered throughout the cruise, the Lido area is sheltered and a lot of people enjoyed the sun loungers, or the Jacuzzi pools.
To one side at the front end of the Lido deck is the Card Room which doubles up as the cinema. The rest of the space is the Spa area and Gymnasium. There is even a private sheltered area at the front for the paying Spa customers…not us!
The décor is different to the other P&O ships. Instead of light coloured wood features, it is all dark wood giving quite a dark feel as you walk around the public areas. To give a little light there are a lot of mirrors , and this perhaps makes it feel a little bigger as well. Another difference is the use of brass for the stair rails. I am sure I occasionally smelt that old familiar odour of something like Brasso.
There was possibly one little negative aspect of the smallness and open style of public space. There is music being played everywhere in the evenings. You can’t find anywhere to sit in peace or to have a chat with friends. In general the musical entertainment was of a very high standard and we listened to it quite happily, but sometimes we just wanted to have a conversation with our new friends without having to shout, and without annoying others around us listening to the music.
On balance I think the ship is really rather special, and lives up to its description of being the ‘Little Gem of the P&O Fleet’.
After our welcome buffet and drinks we found our suite and unpacked. It was so strange having more space than necessary for our clothes and holiday bits.
After much deliberation we booked the Ocean Grill for dinner while it was 30% off the cover charge. This also allowed us to get to know the location, and the waiters who would be serving our rather exclusive Suite Passenger breakfast.
As usual the food and service in this Select Dining area was superb, and also as usual we ate too much to be able to have a pudding.
With the meal over we went to a show in the Curzon Lounge. Being so small, Adonia doesn’t have a full-blown Headliners group – they have their own specialised Theatre Group with just a four singer/dancer team. This first 45-minute show was superb covering a range of songs with a Motown theme. The lounge was not busy at all so no problem finding a good seat.
When we left the Curzon Lounge we went to for a quiz run by Aaron (from our Aurora world cruise), and then gave in to tiredness.
The sea was not calm and the captain had warned us to be prepared. Suitably dosed with my little white pill I relaxed into the bed, and although waking quite regularly with the movement and noise I slept reasonably well.
Saturday 29th July – Sea Day into the Bay of Biscay
I was not happy! My head and stomach were not talking to each other and I knew sea-sickness was my going to be my main concern for the day.
Deb went to breakfast alone and I searched for a less wobbly place to concentrate on something still….nowhere to be found!!
When Deb found me she described a very friendly breakfast, and even the offer of a Buck’s Fizz, to welcome her (well, us really) aboard. I was feeling a little better and we had a walk around the wet and windy Lido deck before returning to the cabin. That was enough to send me back into nausea so I lay on the bed and Deb went to read elsewhere around the ship.
Fortunately, late in the morning I decided my stomach had forgiven me and I felt well enough to join up with Deb and the rest of the ship’s passengers. At midday the ship was still rocking and rolling but I was managing to feel suitably clear-headed to join in with the choir. It was run by Kelly Young who is the singer from Adonia’s resident band, along with the guitarist playing the piano. While I was exercising my vocal chords, Deb had some lunch, and then came back to the Crow’s Nest when the singing had ended. We then both had some fun with the play reading session, hosted by two of the singers. Really good fun!
Then it was the Battle of the Sexes with Deb as captain of a successful ladies team, while I struggled with the men who were given a good thrashing.
This had been a very busy three hours and it was time for me to have some lunch in the buffet. It was very quiet up there, probably because it was nearly 3:00 and afternoon tea had begun. Hence my lunch, and first actual food of the day, was a scone with jam. On the other occasions we used the buffet it was quite crowded, and not easy to find places to sit.
It was time to go back in the cabin now for a well-earned rest. The weather was far from suitable to make use of the balcony and I was quite happy to lay on the bed for a few minutes. After receiving instructions from the butler on how to use the Jacuzzi, we both tried it out before it was time for dinner. I would describe it as an interesting experience, but not something that was overly exciting. In reality the bath shape, and the water inlet at the back of the bath was making it very difficult for me to get comfortable. Also the small amount of shower gel I put in made the bubbles get perilously close to overflowing.
It was the ‘welcome on board’ cocktail party and the formal clothes came out for the first time. The Curzon Lounge was not busy and we sat with a couple of glasses of fizz and listened to the Captain make the usual ‘hello’ speech while he introduced his top team.
Our evening meal was in the main dining room tonight. We had four others on our table. There was one couple of a similar age to us and then two sisters who had both left their partners at home. We chatted but it just wasn’t a comfortable friendly atmosphere. The meal was ‘average’ but the service was painfully slow. It was so slow that the second sitting were waiting to come in as we left, and there were many others still eating. I let my feelings be known to the head waiter as we left.
Back to the Curzon Lounge, and the show tonight was a comedian / magician act. I think we had heard all of the jokes before, and the magic was OK, but nothing special. In fairness, if we were hearing the jokes for the first time, it would probably have been a very good show.
After the show we relaxed in Andersons listening to Lisa Harman on the piano. We had seen her before while on Fred Olsen’s Balmoral last year and Lisa impressed us then with her music and singing.
Then came the syndicate quiz and we were joined by two other couples. As we slowly got to know each other over a glass or two of wine, the questions seemed quite easy. At the end I was rather shocked, but very happy, to discover we had won!
Our prize was a bottle of wine and we talked with our fellow quizzers as we drank it. Lisa Harman returned and she played my earlier request for Billy Joel’s ‘Mr Piano Man’. What a very talented pianist and singer.
The sea had become far less lumpy and noisy during the latter part of the day, and we went to bed quite happy from the quiz, the better weather, and the alcohol.
Sunday 30th July – Arrival into Bordeaux
Finally I got to experience the Suite Passengers Only breakfast! The service was exceptional, and our food was individually prepared making the experience really rather special…
…but we don’t normally eat very much for breakfast.
Adonia had left the Bay of Biscay and was making her way slowly (and gently) along the River Garonne towards the French city of Bordeaux. After breakfast we relaxed on the balcony of our cabin to look at the views, as well as reading and updating our diaries. We passed typical French chateaux and vineyards as well as little islands and vast numbers of fishing pontoons on the side of the river. The weather had finally allowed us to enjoy the balcony. It was not overly sunny, but pleasantly warm.
At midday I went for choir practice where we repeated some simple songs from yesterday. We only have one more session on Wednesday when we will finalise what to sing for the public concert on Thursday evening.
Deb and I met up when singing was over and we went for a snack in the Conservatory. We were both being good and just had soup plus a slice of pizza today to keep our tums content.
By the time our meal was complete, Adonia was just about moored up by the riverside in the centre of the city of Bordeaux. What a scene this was with the imposing architecture as a backdrop while hundreds of local people enjoyed a sunny Sunday afternoon. They were sitting on the grassy area adjacent to the river, or leaning against the riverside railing watching the spectacle of our ship which would become a part of the cityscape for the next 24 hours.
There was a circus just across the river from us where we saw elephants in their lorry based home later in the afternoon. Other people caught glimpses of camels and tigers. The circus was only there for Sunday evening so I doubt if anyone went to watch the performance.
The announcement that we could go ashore was made just after 2:00 but we relaxed for another 45 minutes on the balcony, just absorbing the atmosphere below us. Then it was time to investigate the waterfront area of Bordeaux. We walked for well over an hour really just to get our bearings before going deeper into the city tomorrow morning. Our walk was restricted to the waterfront where there were no shops, but plenty of cafes and bars.
Tonight we made the most of being in a suite, and arranged with the butler to serve our dinner out on the balcony. When he brought us our evening canapes we told him what we wanted from the menu, and he promised to be back to begin the meal just before 7:00.
After showering we ate our canapes and went to Andersons for a pre-dinner drink, and to take part in the Individual Quiz. We lost again, and it was time to return to the cabin and get dressed for our meal…yes we dressed in smart-casual even to eat on our own private balcony.
Just before 7:00 the butler arrived with a tablecloth and cutlery. The table is big enough for four to eat at, so there was plenty of room. He opened our bottle of champagne (provided to all suite passengers) and poured us a glass of fizz each. He then put the pressure stopper on the bottle (provided in suites) to keep it lively and returned it to the fridge. He did offer to get some ice but we assured him the fridge would be perfectly adequate.
As we sat down he came back again with our starters, and then promised to return in a little while with the main course.
With starters completed there was time to sip the champagne before he was back to clear away the used plates and to bring in the main dishes. He refilled the champagne glasses, asked if there was anything else we wanted, told us he would collect our plates later and wished us a lovely evening.
Our table overlooked the waterside and the grassy area and walkway which were packed with youngsters and adults alike enjoying a warm sunny evening. There were Caribbean drummers hammering out their rhythms throughout the meal, and a little further away was some form of dance lesson going on. We had plenty of practice at counting in French from 1 to 4, plus directions for left, right, forwards and back. We had no idea what the dance was or how many were doing it, but it certainly entertained us…
…the drumming however was not appreciated after the first ten minutes!!!
After a delightful dinner we moved on to the Curzon Lounge to listen to the ship’s quartet of singers performing another show. This one was themed on British singers or bands that had been successful in the USA. They sang around 40 songs – some just snippets, but many in full – as well as dancing a bit. It was once again a wonderful 45 minutes and because we have never seen these shows before, it was really great.
Next it was off for a gameshow up in the Crow’s Nest (that we lost again) where we finished our champagne.
This superb evening ended in Andersons with our new friends for the Syndicate quiz. Having won the quiz last night, we started with a score of -1, and we ended just that single point behind the eventual winning team.
Although losers, the six of us still had a good time and left very late to go to bed.
Our overnight stay in Bordeaux meant is would be a quiet and still night, and a chance for some real sleep.
Monday 31st July – Bordeaux (continued)
The night had been as peaceful night and motionless as expected, and I slept wonderfully waking refreshed in this rather beautiful city.
Adonia would be staying here for the morning and Deb and I planned to explore the shopping area of the city.
The weather was quite pleasant as we strolled away from the ship, and crossed the combination of road, tram, and cycle paths towards what is known as the Golden Triangle – the main shopping area of Bordeaux.
There were lots of photo opportunities beginning with the monument dedicated to the victims of the revolution. It is a tall pillar in the centre of a circular fountain area with strange horse animals that have dragon claws for their feet. At the top of the pillar is a symbolic angelic figure.
It didn’t take long to reach the commercial area with its mainly narrow pedestrianised streets. There were a lot of familiar-named outlets for fashion as well as less familiar shops. There were many small delightful shops selling different artisan items to look around, and we had no difficulty finding a souvenir fridge magnet.
Deb found a supermarket where she grabbed some of her favourite salad dressing, that cannot be found in Britain, as well as a bottle of local wine.
With a heavy bag of treats we stopped in a small square for a cup of coffee, and watched the locals getting on with their lives. Two groups of school children dressed in orange high visibility jackets came along. They had maps and were obviously on some sort of ‘spot the building or landmark’ challenge.
It was time to make our way back to the ship, but a shop selling artisan jams and pickles caught Deb’s eye and we went inside to explore. As Deb struggled to make out what was in a jar, the owner came over to us with taster sticks of his chocolate spreads… delicious.
Of course we bought some, and a set of little relishes as well. We even bought a new shopping bag to put our purchases in, and that will become another of our collection of bags from around the world.
It was 11:00 when we got back on board Adonia, and the weather was good enough to enjoy the sun on the balcony for a little while longer before lunch.
At midday the ship began the journey back towards the dreaded Bay of Biscay for the journey south to Bilbao in Northern Spain. At least the three hour trip down the river would be smooth before the expected return to the windy conditions and a lumpy sea,
After another individual quiz challenge where Deb lost in a tie break with one of our Syndicate team, we went to dinner in the main dining room. It was not an enjoyable experience with less than interesting food, and an uncomfortable atmosphere around the table. It proved to be the last time we ate here.
We didn’t bother with the cabaret this evening, and simple read our books before going to the Crow’s Nest for the gameshow. It was based on BBC’s ‘Pointless’ quiz and our names were drawn from a hat to take part.
Our prize was a bottle of the house wine, plus a wine cooler.
Slightly surprised, but very happy with our success, we made our way to Anderson’s to meet up with our team for the late night challenge.
We won again!
After the quiz the resident duo began their music set, and the six of us went to the Curzon Lounge to drink our prize and talk loudly again. There was ballroom dancing in the background, and Deb was taken for a dance by one of the men from our team.
By the time we left the lounge it was empty, and after midnight. It was time for bed but we were back in the Bay again and the sea was unfriendly once more. I took no chances and had a little white pill to keep my head and stomach comfortable.
Tuesday 1st August – Bilbao
I slept fitfully until the noises associated with docking were too much to ignore. Being at the stern of the ship, and quite low down on C Deck, the noises were much louder than I have experienced before. The thrusters were very obvious, and even the motors for the mooring ropes were quite loud.
Adonia docked at the cruise terminal of Getxo which is some 20 kilometres from the City of Bilbao in Northern Spain.
Our morning began with a trip to the Ocean Grill for breakfast. The weather was not looking promising as we enjoyed the peaceful surroundings of the quiet restaurant and the view from the window.
We were in no hurry to leave the ship but many passengers were galloping from Adonia to board tour coaches as soon as the all-clear to go ashore was announced. Others were rushing to catch an early shuttle into the city, but we decided to wait until the shops were definitely open.
Eventually we gathered together our cameras, maps and money. It was time to go, and we put on our rainproof macs to make the walk along the quayside to the terminal building and the waiting shuttle buses.
Our bus ride was little more than 20 minutes, and after quite a scenic drive, we were dropped off in an area close to where we wanted to go. The rain had stopped by now, and it was pleasantly warm with the sunshine making an appearance. Our aim was to look at Bilbao’s iconic Gugenheim museum. We had no intention of going inside, but the building itself is a sensational example of modern architecture, and it has a giant sculpture outside of a dog covered in flowers.
We wandered around the vast building for over an hour. There were fantastic sculptures and water features to look at, as well as photograph displays of ‘before’ and ‘after’ the construction of this wonderful building. An amusing addition was a group of three people dressed in bird costumes, with beaks made from short planks of wood that ‘clacked’ as they were opened and closed. The rhythmic clacking attracted quite a crowd, but the fun part was when someone dropped coins into their tin. To give their thanks, the three birds ceased clacking, and then bowed forward until their beaks rested on the ground.
We took a lot of photographs, and stopped a couple of times to sit on a bench to enjoy the atmosphere and views. My knees were aching and it was time to walk back towards the shuttle bus stop. On the way we stopped in a souvenir shop to get the usual fridge magnet, plus a little object that will be added to our Christmas tree box.
After lunch (in the buffet) we enjoyed more time on the balcony. The sun came and went, but when it was saying hello to us, the warmth was delightful.
After canapes, and another unsuccessful individual quiz, we readied ourselves for dinner in the Glass House. We were early to allow us to enjoy as much of the evening on board Adonia as possible. In reality we were so early arriving in the restaurant, we had to go and find the waiters who were in a back area preparing for a wine tasting meal for a handful of passengers who had paid a premium for the experience.
It wasn’t long before we were tucking into a delicious meal. We had eaten in the Glass House on Aurora and knew what to expect, and the meal tonight didn’t let us down.
From the restaurant on deck 10 we made our way to the Curzon Lounge for another show from the hard working singers. Tonight it was called ‘Magic Moments’ based on the life and songs of Burt Bacharat and Hal David. As with all the shows that these four talented youngsters performed, it was wonderful. I could really see this being rolled out across the fleet.
Our evening was finally rounded off in Anderson’s with 20 questions with our friends. It was not a good effort and for the first time our score was well short of the winners.
Meanwhile Adonia was sailing north westwards across the Bay of Biscay. The state of the sea had not changed, and we were jiggling and rocking around again. We have a day at sea to come before we arrive at the island of Guernsey.
Ah well, it’s time for a little white pill again….goodnight.
Wednesday 2nd August – Up and down in the Bay of Biscay
Without going into too much detail, it was rough!
It got worse during the day and even Deb took to a little white pill to keep her stomach stable. The day for us was very much about indoor activities. We took to the quizzes and in the morning I actually won one about UK cities.
At lunchtime it was the final scheduled choir practice where we sorted out our songs for the performances tomorrow evening.
Following that Deb and I had a bit of lunch and then turned our attention to the Battle of the Sexes. The ladies were winners, and they had a bottle of chocolates as a prize…while we men licked our wounds.
In the afternoon there was a chance to watch a play performed by the song and dance team. It was by Alan Ayckbourne and lasted almost three hours. We decided to pass on this and simply relaxed in the lounges with our books.
Late in the afternoon Captain Simon Love gave his daily update on progress and the weather forecast. It was not good. The bumpy weather was set to continue, and the chances of getting ashore in Guernsey tomorrow are not looking good.
This was the second and final formal night, and we usually go to the main dining room when dressed up, but not tonight. We stayed in our casual clothes and ate in the buffet. At least they can produce food with flavour that I find missing with the main dining room offerings.
Now we got dressed up for the rest of the evening. The primary entertainment tonight was a singer in the Curzon that didn’t appeal to us, so we went to the Card Room which becomes the cinema in the evening. We watched a comedy about pensioners becoming bank robbers called ‘Golden Years’. It had a really good cast and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The only downside was that the chairs were not very comfortable for sitting that long…well not for my legs anyway.
At 10:30 we met up in Anderson’s and our team had an atrocious performance in the Syndicate Quiz.
…I blame it on the little white pills.
Time to be rocked to sleep again.
Thursday 3rd August – Guernsey
As we were having breakfast in the Ocean Grill, our captain came on the PA system to say good morning. It was the bad news that although the weather is better, the wind is still too strong, and the waves are too big to allow the tenders to be used. We are anchored in the Bay of St Peter Port, and that is where we will stay until the middle of the afternoon.
It is really annoying when you can see the island so close, but not being able to get there.
The entertainment crew had already got a plan in place, and a timetable of activities were announced and rolled out to keep us occupied…if not happy.
More quizzes, more talks, a workshop from the magician to teach people some simple tricks, and another session of the choir. There was even a further round in the Battle of the Sexes. The men failed to take revenge with the ladies making us look stupid again.
Of course while this was all happening we had to pack our cases. It didn’t take very long and we just had the final cases to complete in the evening.
Our last dinner on board was back in the Ocean Grill where we were welcomed by the now very familiar waiters and waitresses. We decided to avoid the starter course in the hopes that we could finally try out the deserts. The main course, and the pudding, was delicious. Unfortunately I had to make my apologies and leave early for the first of the choir’s performances this evening.
The programme of singing was quite short, but the fifteen minutes seemed to go down very well with the audiences that came to see us. We sang in the atrium area at the top of the staircase in front of the shops, so it was difficult for anyone walking along the deck to avoid us. We had a second performance later in the evening, and I really enjoyed the experience.
Thanks Kelly for your efforts turning a little group of us into something worth listening to.
In between our performances we watched another show in the Curzon Lounge called ‘A night at the Palladium’. Yes the boys and girls were once again terrific.
Our final evening was completed by another thrashing with our Syndicate friends. We said our goodbyes and thanked each other for a short but very sweet friendship.
Back at our Suite, we filled the final case and put it outside.
Tomorrow we would wake up in Southampton.
Friday 4th August – Home Again
It was another noisy end to the night as we arrived in Southampton and tied up at the dockside. Looking out from the balcony we could see the Queen Mary 2 at the adjacent terminal. We were one of the smallest ships sailing from Southampton, and there was one of the biggest.
The final breakfast was just as sweet as the others in the Ocean Grill, but we didn’t eat very much. I think this private breakfast for the passengers from the ten suites is one of the best parts of choosing these cabins.
The expected disembarkation time was 8:30, and just after 8:00 we had washed, collected together the last of our bits and pieces, and said goodbye to this amazing cabin. We walked to our collection point in Anderson’s, but before we could sit down, we were instructed to disembark. Well before 8:30 we had found our suitcases in the vast hall that was so empty with just 700 passengers to service.
Quickly through the terminal building, we phoned the taxi company to take us back to our car, and by 8:45 we were loading up our car once more for the journey home.
This had been the quickest and smoothest disembarkation in 18 years of cruising.
We didn’t go home immediately as we had arranged to meet up with two of our friends we made on the World Cruise. They stayed overnight in Southampton before joining Adonia today. We met up in Weatherspoon’s for a cup of coffee and a chat. It was an opportunity to catch up with each other, and for us to tell them about Adonia as this was their first cruise on her as well.
Eventually we were on the road towards home with some wonderful memories of Adonia, Bordeaux and Bilbao.
Now where are we going next?
During the seven days we had sailed some 1400 nautical miles. Adonia had ploughed its way through seas that were rarely better than Force 3 conditions and spent some time at Force 6. The sun occasionally said hello, but it was certainly not August temperatures, and we completely missed Guernsey…
…but we still had very good time.
Adonia is small but is charming. As many have said, it is like being in a Manor House hotel with very friendly and personal service. The entertainment was simpler than normal but I personally found the resident show team to be wonderful, and the small lounge area was never crowded, and allowed good views of the action.
Our suite was of course sensational, and I recommend that everyone should try and sample a suite if possible. It is a different experience, and will not disappoint, even if the Butler is a little underused. I doubt we will ever have another chance like this to live in a different level of luxury at a ridiculously low price.
The ports we visited were new to us. We didn’t plan anything other than a look around and get a feel for the cities of Bordeaux and Bilbao. Bordeaux was exceptionally pretty, and I hope we get back there one day. We saw very little of Bilbao but again it felt good, and needs a further exploration.
On the negative side, the smallness of the ship does mean it moves a lot more in the heavy seas, and there is far more noise when on the lower deck that we chose. If we were to go back on Adonia I suspect we would be in a balcony cabin. They are a good size with a typical balcony big enough to sit and enjoy the sunshine or fresh air. The bathrooms are unfortunately rather small, and in particular the shower cubicles will shock many who have sailed on any of the other P&O ships.
The food in the main dining room was a real let down. The menu, which has been in use for several months now across the fleet, is adequate….but not for those of us who do not like fish. I also find the food bland. I don’t put this down to a lack of seasoning, as I am not a fan of too much salt. I suspect that I would struggle to blind-taste the difference between many of the vegetables served, and the meat is again less than distinctive. Beef is often the alternative to fish, and certainly appeared on the two meals we had in there in three days.
Overall I would recommend Adonia, but you must not see her as typical of modern cruising. Instead she is a wonderful change from the ships many of us are used to. She provides a chance to return to a previous age perhaps, with fewer passengers and a distinctly more personal atmosphere. If you have a weak stomach I recommend avoiding the extremes of the ship, and remember that the lower C Deck can be noisy when docking.
Well, Deb and I have the summer to visit friends and family before we consider our next cruise. Currently we have nothing booked until January 2019, but we have some ideas for a return to our favourite medium size ships, and a return to the Western Mediterranean ports perhaps.
Would we consider Adonia again?
She is not perhaps my personal preference…but we never say never.